Myths about Skilled Trades

Many parents and educators are still encouraging their students to go to college and get a bachelor or masters degrees for a “better future”. The sad truth is that many students are missing the chance to see the prospects of skilled trades career. Historically it was the Baby-Boomer generation that held these positions and now they are retiring in droves. The gap they have left is resulting in skilled trades salaries that can match those of popular careers that require a bachelors degree and without the student loan debt. Unfortunately these kind of jobs can carry a stigma based on inaccurate myths. Here are the myths to break to make people think otherwise.

Myth to break no. 1 - Skilled trades jobs don’t come with good salaries.

It is the myth that you firstly need to break. Let’s take a look at a General Contractor or Construction Manager as an example. Researchers have found the expected average salary is $107,815 annually. The expected growth in this field from now till 2026 is 5%.

Another great example is an HVAC technician. These technicians are trained and certified through career and vocational schools at a fraction of the cost for a college or university. Demand is so high the many companies are willing to cover the cost for contracted employees as well. The average annual salary is $60,946.

Myth to break no.2 - Only uneducated people go into skilled trades.

It is an unfair stigma created by a past generation of folks who built McMansions and wore shoulder pads. More importantly, students who are learning skilled trades are not throwing away academics. Some skilled trades jobs require an understanding in science, math and technical writing. There is no sensible reason that skilled trades are less important or respectable than conventional jobs.

Myth to break no.3 – Due to technological advances, industries no longer need skilled trade jobs.

On the contrary, the demand for skilled trade laborers has been significantly increasing in the past five years. The reason is obvious. Many baby boomers have retired. According to the researchers, roughly 40% of trades people in major industries will retire in the next two years. You will be able to see the shortage of tradespeople this year and by 2020.  Employers are struggling to find replacements. So, it is wrong when ones say that skilled tradespeople are no longer needed. It is the other way around. Carpenters, electricians, painters, etc will be needed to build the buildings robots and computers are housed in let alone where the rest of us will live.

Myth to break no.4 - Skilled trades jobs are the worst effected by fluctuations in the economy.

Despite any decline in the economy, the demand for these fields will always be there. Plumbers, for instance, are always needed as long as there are bathrooms and buildings that have pipes. The truth is that the skilled trades positions offer a wide array of wages depending on the level of proficiency and competency. The more experience you have, the more chances you are able to earn larger salaries. Large corporations can’t exactly export these jobs to another country either.

Myth to break no. 5 - Trade school is just as expensive as college

This is simply not the case. Most of the skilled trades programs are finished in two years or less. In January of 2019 it was reported that the average cost to earn a bachelors degree is $127,000. While trade school tuition can cost between $1,00 and $30,000+ the average cost of a public (in-district) trade school was between $3,350-$6,483 for the 2015-2016 school year. Keep in mind that students at a two-year school who received federal aid got an average of $5,070 in grant and scholarship assistance.

Myth to break no. 6 – Work is inconsistent

The truth is that more and more people need electricians, plumbers, and carpenters regardless the seasons changing. From the home renovations, emergencies, commercials buildings, smaller projects to larger projects, skilled tradespeople are highly demanded on a daily basis. It is so wrong to say that skilled trades jobs are struggling. It creates a big window of opportunity for you to pick a career path that is a match to your passions.

Myth to break no.7 - “You won’t have a life…”

Some people think that it is boring. Well, any job can be boring if you don’t have dedication or a passion for it. Still no one can argue that trades jobs positions are not like any desk job. On the contrary, most trades jobs will keep you active the whole day. Stagnancy and long-term repetition won’t likely happen when you are in a trade position.

The fact is, demand for skilled labor is on the rise and is only going to increase as the number of tradespeople starts to decline. A lot of skilled trades require an apprenticeship program to become certified, but don’t let that discourage you. While completing your apprenticeship you will not only be learning in-demand skills but also earning money while learning on the job.  

It’s time to broaden your scope and consider a trade job for a brighter future.

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